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Ledisi loves being "a chameleon," musically

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011

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The last time we saw Ledisi around these parts, she was performing a livewire set at last year’s Detroit International Jazz Festival. She returns this weekend to be part of a decidedly R&B show with Kem and Musiq Soulchild, but the New Orleans-born singer says she has no trouble flitting between the genres.

“I absolutely love being a chameleon,” says Ledisi (née Young), 32. But she also acknowledges that her musical wanderlust makes it “hard for marketing me, and it’s hard for my fans who want me a certain way. But I love it. I enjoy music in general. I listen to everything, and it’s hard to choose one.

“Really, I can’t choose one and just do that for a little while. I have to move around.”

The diversity does serve Ledisi well, however. Her last album, 2009’s broad-reaching “Turn Me Loose,” topped the Billboard R&B charts and gave Ledisi her highest showing ever on the Top 200 (No. 14) and also scored a pair of Grammy Award nominations, including Best R&B Album.

Ledisi is just finishing up her next release, which she hopes to have out this summer. She promises that “it’s real exciting” but demurs from saying too much more about it right now.

“I have some great writers and producers, and the album is just taking on a life of its own,” she says. “Because I’m so eclectic and can go all over the place — I guess I’m kind of ADD — we had to find a direction and keep focused.”

To do that, she reunited with Rex Rideout, a producer and writer who was a major factor in Ledisi’s 2007 album “Lost & Found” and serves as executive producer on the new outing.

“I needed him there to help guide me,” Ledisi acknowledges. “He pretty much guided me into a direction to keep me focused because I’m always moving around too much. Once we found a sound, he was like, ‘This is what you can do,’ and he kept me moving in that direction — even though I was always trying to change it up on him.”

Ledisi performs with Kem and Musiq Soulchild at 8 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $30.50-88. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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